There are a lot of greeting cards out there to choose from, but none as sweetly sassy as those from Julie Ann Art. Julie's cards have been buzzed about quite a bit, and I think it's because they resonate with more casual, "say-what-you're-thinking" people for whom Hallmark won't cut it. She talks about her business growth over the last six years.
Q: Tell us what you do.
A: My name is Julie and I own Julie Ann Art, a stationery business based in southern California. Julie Ann Art offers illustrated paper goods that will most likely put a smile on your face (unless you don't enjoy the occasional swear word or poop illustration).
Q: How did you get started?
A: I started Julie Ann Art as a creative hobby when I was stuck at a monotonous 9 to 5 job. At that time, I had no specific intentions for it, I was simply excited to have found a new hobby to enjoy. Little did I know it would turn into a business so substantial I would quit that job and pursue self-employment.
Q: How has your business evolved and changed since you began?
A: Everything from my product, to my photos, to the way I present my business has evolved greatly in the last six years. A lot of that change stems from my own personal growth and understanding of how to run a business. Although it took some time, I finally feel like I found a branding that works, and that is because it suits me as an individual.
Q: What's been the best investment you've made in your business to date and why?
A: When I first started making cards I was hand-painting each one. Original art....for $5 a piece mind you. This was way before I learned about what my time is worth. :] Once I started to smarten up, I bought myself a printer so I was able to print copies of my original designs made-to-order style. As soon as I did it I was like, I should have done this a lot sooner!! The same thing happened much more recently when I finally made the decision to start outsourcing my printing. While there is a larger up-front cost, it has freed up a lot of time I would have otherwise been printing (or fighting with my printer) at home. I think any sort of investment for your business can feel like a big, scary step, but once you do it, it's usually completely worth it.
Q: You've got a significant social media following... to what do you attribute this success?
A: I have three easy rules I try to follow in regards to social media:
1) Be active. 2) Be engaged. 3) Be informative.
Basically, get on as many social media outlets as you can keep up with. Then, talk to people! Easy, right? So much of the benefit of social media comes from the sense of community it offers and the relationships you can make. And then I just always try to post things that followers can take something away from. Whether it's to give information, or make them laugh, I try to always ask myself what the purpose of my post is so that my posts are considered valuable. And pretty pictures help too. ;]
Q: What's the best part of your job?
A: I feel incredibly lucky to do what I do so it's hard to pick something as the "best" part. In general, I always try to remember the big picture...the thought of every card I sell being given to its recipient to express happiness, love, gratitude..... I mean, does it get any better than that? Being able to, in some small silly way, be a part of something so meaningful?